Recruits learn MCMAP hand-to-hand combat
By Cpl. Walter D. Marino II
| Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego | January 14, 2013
San Diego --
Like a vehicle assembly line, Recruits of Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, worked smoothly in unison for a common goal. In one fluid motion recruits repeatedly kicked and punched at the air practicing Marine Corps Martial Arts Program techniques to get the various movements into muscle memory.
Drill instructors watched with a keen eye for discrepancies in their form. On-the-spot corrections were continuously made until it appeared all recruits could perform the kicks and counters properly.
MCMAP trains Marines in unarmed combat, weapons of opportunity, and rifle and bayonet techniques. The program also stresses mental and character development.
Over the course of recruit training, recruits are taught the basics of MCMAP and tested near the end of recruit training for certification of the MCMAP tan belt – the lowest belt attainable through the program.
Recruits of Co. C practiced lower body strikes Jan. 4, in order to work toward earning their tan belts. Approximately 27.5 hours of training and 47 moves are required to earn the tan belt. The hours and techniques are broken down into multiple sessions that focus on different categories.
There are similarities between MCMAP and other martial arts, but to think they are one and the same would be a mistake, according to Staff Sgt. Antonio J. Curry, drill instructor, Instructional Training Company, Support Bn.
“Everything we do in MCMAP is not for sport, it’s for combat-based scenarios,” said Curry, a brown belt MCMAP instructor. “A lot of people confuse MCMAP with sports fighting. Here we are learning to (kill) the enemy.”
Whether coming into recruit training never having been in a fight or as experienced as a amateur boxer, it appeared all recruits, no matter what level of fighting experience they had, grasped the value of hand-to-hand combat skills.
“I like being able to protect myself in any situation. I’ve seen fights where people didn’t know what they were doing and got beat up pretty bad,” said Recruit Michael R. Massaglia, Platoon 1051, Co. C, 1st RTBn. “I think knowing MCMAP in a combat zone can determine life or death. I think in a combat zone anything can happen and you have to be prepared for that.”
While most recruits only mentioned the immediate impact MCMAP would have in a combat scenario, some recruits realized different situations in which MCMAP would help, which hit closer to home.
“There could be a situation in Afghanistan where I run out of ammunition,” said Recruit Jorge J. Perez, Plt. 3217, Co. C, 1st RTBn. “But MCMAP could also help if someone was trying to hurt my family.”
The recruits finished their session with another round of lower body strikes that included knee strikes and front kicks. While this was only a piece of tan belt training, it was a step in sharpening hand-to-hand combat skills.